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Why Is My Furnace Tripping the Circuit Breaker?

electrical-wires-hvacIt’s a frigid day or night outside. Your home needs heat from the furnace for comfort. You go to the thermostat, adjust it up to an energy-saving temperature (we recommend 68°F), and wait for the furnace to kick in.

And it does—only to immediately shut down because a circuit breaker tripped.

Obviously, this isn’t something you want to happen! You can go to the electrical panel, reset the tripped circuit, and try the furnace again. It may have been a small glitch, and the furnace will continue to run without problems. But if the circuit breaker trips again, you have a bigger problem affecting the furnace. In many cases, you’ll need to call on heating repair in Livingston, NJ from professionals. This way you’ll soon have your comfort restored and your family will be happy and safe again.

What might cause circuit breaker problem to happen?

Good question. A number of malfunctions can lurk behind a furnace that trips the circuit breaker. The basic explanation is that, for some reason, the furnace is putting a larger demand on the electrical circuit than normal. Enough to cause the breaker to cut off the voltage.

Your first reaction to hearing this is may be, “But I have a gas furnace, not an electrical furnace.” However, gas furnaces rely on electrical power for crucial components, namely, the blower fan. The motor that powers the blower fan consumes a large amount of electricity. A malfunction in this motor can easily cause a circuit breaker to trip. Both gas and electric furnaces face the identical problem.

Why is the motor placing too high a demand on the circuit? It’s possible the motor is overheating because of a loss of lubrication. This is one of the many reasons always to schedule a furnace tune-up and inspection each year in the fall. Technicians make checks on the motors and clean and lubricate them if necessary during these routine check-ups.

The blower motor may have an electric short in it. A short of any kind, where electricity makes a jump from one wire to another when it shouldn’t, creates a voltage spike. This is why homes have circuit breakers in the first place: to protect the electrical system from the damage of shorts. In this case, the motor will need to be replaced.

Another common cause for the furnace creating an electrical short is a clogged up air filter. The air filter prevents debris from entering the blower and the rest of the furnace, but if allowed to become congested over time, it will strangle the airflow. This makes the blower fan work harder—which may overload the circuit. Remember to change the filter regularly throughout the season, every 1 to 3 months.

Finally, the circuit breaker itself might be the root of problem. An aging or worn down electrical panel may be unable to handle standard voltage demands. In this case, your heating technicians can recommend an electrician to take care of this issue.

Advanced Mechanical Services offers service throughout the Tri-State Area. Trust us for emergency heating repairs, any time of the day or night!

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